I’m a college student looking to understand how niche websites work. I have tuition due and would love to figure out how they work. I’ve already went to your website to read the information and I just have one question depending on my learning curve how long typically does it take for an individual to make a successful niche site and make start earning income?
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It is important to note, however, that StudioPress is now a subsidiary of WPEngine which is the company that actually does the web hosting on which StudioPress’s Genesis framework runs. The affiliate program only works with choosing the StudioPress framework and themes, not the actual hosting on WPEngine. WPEngine has a separate affiliate program for its hosting services, which yes, is a bit confusing.

Cost per click was more common in the early days of affiliate marketing but has diminished in use over time due to click fraud issues very similar to the click fraud issues modern search engines are facing today. Contextual advertising programs are not considered in the statistic pertaining to the diminished use of cost per click, as it is uncertain if contextual advertising can be considered affiliate marketing. 

In this example, a blogger might put this link on their blog to try to get their readers to click through to your “blue widget” page and hopefully buy something. If the visitor who clicks on this link actually buys something, affiliate tracking software will automatically (usually – depends on what system you are using) pay your affiliate a percentage of the sale.
Creating a unique tracking ID for an Amazon link is easy. Simply log in to your Amazon affiliate dashboard, click “Account Settings” at the very top on the right, then click “Manage Tracking IDs”. From there you can make a new tracking ID so you can track which web page/campaign sold what.  You can learn more about using Amazon’s Tracking IDs here.

You want to pay specific attention to gravity. Gravity is basically how many sales this product gets. You want to see whether or not these are products that you could potentially promote to the people that visit your site. You just want to scroll down and see what’s doing well and see what’s interesting. For example, ‘Escape Plan: Ditch the Rat Race, Discover the World’. This might be nice for that travel hacks niche site if you decided to make that. If you don’t find anything on Clickbank, no worries; there are plenty of other ways to monetize your site with affiliate offers. You’re just looking here to see whether or not your niche can be monetized.
You may have heard of ClickBank, one of the oldest and most popular affiliate networks. A billion-dollar company, ClickBank specializes in digital products like e-books and software, as well as membership sites. If you are comfortable selling information and don’t want the management and administration hassles of “real” businesses, this may be a good starting point. Its commissions can be anywhere from 10% all the way to 75%.
Through our global affiliate network, we empower marketers to engage shoppers across the entire consumer journey. Affiliate success comes down to partnerships — we connect advertisers with publishers to reach new audiences and influence repeat purchases. Our solutions create a holistic strategy that delivers proven incremental revenue and is continually optimized for performance.
I have highlighted with red boxes how they are monetizing the site.  First I will point out how professional the site looks – it has a custom logo and a very clean look and feel to the site.  This helps build trust right away.  Secondly, I like how they have the salary data that searchers are looking for right away on top.  Then they have the adsense ads immediately following (still above the fold).

LinkConnector imposes a very rigorous and lengthy screening process, so you’ll need to prove that you have a high-quality website and established audience before being accepted. Despite its somewhat schizophrenic approach, LinkConnector does have some very happy long-term affiliates. And their “naked links” allow for direct connection to the merchant website without having to be rerouted via LinkConnector, which will give your website an SEO boost.
You will notice that this site does try to make some money with Adsense, but the banner ad at the top is an affiliate ad (through Commission Junction) for Fastweb.  I just logged into CJ.com to see how much FastWeb pays – its looks like only $0.80 per lead – OUCH!  This is really low.  This website owner also trys to promote fastweb in the articles – but no Adsense.  I think they should be focusing more heavily on Adsense within the content of their articles to increase their income.  My guess is that this site earns almost $.80 on average per Adsense click (which is MUCH easier to get than a lead).

When using affiliate links, the blogger also has control over where these links appear and how they look. Brands that offer affiliate partnerships typically provide a range of banners and titles for affiliates to use and contact affiliates when they have new creative to promote special offers, events and sales. However, you can also include simple text links on your site and EDMs and direct links in your social media posts.
Upselling is a sales technique where the salesperson encourages a more expensive purchase by a customer by persuading them to get an upgraded version of an item or to purchase add-ons. Remember our food processor example? That food processor could probably be best used with a book of recipes, which also can be purchased at the same company’s website.

Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest ways to make money on the Internet. You don’t need any great technical skills to make a start, and it’s a business you can scale over time. Initially you’ll be selling other peoples’ products, but eventually you can develop your own ebooks and training courses for even greater profits. One of the questions I get asked all the time about affiliate marketing is what are the best niches to work in. Before I can answer that I have to clarify what exactly I mean by a niche in Internet marketing.

Awesome article! This is jam packed with great info. I am just starting a personal finance blog with my fiance and we were a little confused about how to start monetizing. We were initially thinking about using Google AdSense but between this post and another blog I read I am surely convinced that’s not the correct route. I’m really happy you have shared this information because it’s provided an excellent starting point for creating income.
There are some things that are confusing to a newbie such as "affiliate tracking" that isn't clearly explained, but (I'm old school) I have noticed that it is typical of writers in this day and age to assume that the readers understand most everything the author is talking about. Even when I took web design classes at a local college the instructors assume ALL students are millenials (I'm a gen X) and will not explain in more detail unless asked.
While your site is still new, it's a good idea to start capitalizing on someone else's audience. Continue focusing on building your own content, but also considering writing content for a few big, high-traffic blogs that are relevant for your niche. By writing content for a bigger site, you are able to get in front of another audience and showcase your expertise on a particular topic. This will eventually lead to more traffic to your site, as well. 
NerdWallet is another gigantic site, that earns most of its income from the form of CPA offers and leads generated for financial institutions.  Similar to services like Lending Tree, NerdWallet gets your information when you are looking at different financial products, and sells your contact information as a “lead” to qualified financial institutions who try to sell you products.  The kicker here is that the CPA on most financial products is significantly higher than other CPA offers, like educational leads for example.  One lead for a loan might pay out at $200 instead of the normal $20 – $50 that you'll get in the education niche.
If your domain is your address, hosting is like the actual house within which your site will live. It's your own little slice of the internet — the place where all your website files live. Hosting is very affordable these days, so don't unnecessarily scrimp on costs. Go with a reputable, reliable provider because your affiliate marketing business depends on it. 

Be sure to check what kind of customer support you can expect from your affiliate program once you have signed up. Do your research online and if possible, speak to other sellers using the program to get their thoughts. Can you speak to someone via phone or Skype or do you have to wait 72 hours for email responses? Be clear on this because trust me, you will need support at one point or another. 
The other monetization method is through the sidebar (and also at the end of every article) is education lead generation.  They are probably an affiliate of a number of different schools or other educational lead companies.  However, not only are they probably making good money with the site, but they offer great content on the site.  They allow users to search by state to find local salaries and much more information.  Content is important!

Focus on reviewing products that fall within your niche. Then, leveraging the rapport you have created with your audience and your stance as an expert, tell your readers why they would benefit from purchasing the product you are promoting. It is especially effective to compare this product to others in the same category. Most importantly, make sure you are generating detailed, articulate content to improve conversions.

This is a great example of a top notch review site. They start at the homepage notifying that they make affiliate commissions, but provide top end reviews from independent reviewers. This is great to be honest up front. In addition to being transparent, they also take the content is king strategy. I randomly clicked on their “Top Home Projector” post where they reviewed (and linked) to several high end home theater projectors. Keep in mind that these high priced items produce high commissions. That may explain why they spent the time to write a 5,000 word post on it. This site seems to do everything right in being a prime example of an Amazon Affiliate Website. This site now has over 60 staff members working for it.

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